I started writing this as a sort of therapy for myself, when I feel things going around my head I find it beneficial to get them down on paper, or on screen as the case may be. So, what has been going around my head? 

For the purpose of anonymity, I have been non-specific with dates and names in this anecdote, but everything that happened is true. It was over 10 years ago now, I was somewhere between the ages of 11 and 13 (I honestly cannot remember). We were sat in an Italian restaurant that we had found in the neighbouring town of Ndola. It took us about 40 minutes to get there on the new shortcut road that had just been tarmacked.

It was usually a special occasion that drew us to this particular restaurant, this time it was dad’s birthday. We were enjoying our meal, and looking forward to our ice cream that we would inevitably have after the meal.

The scene of birthday bliss was interrupted by mum’s ringtone. On the phone was one of the ladies who worked with Caring in Crisis Africa UK (CiCA UK) a charity my mum runs. She was based in Ndola, the city we were in, and needed us to go and meet her quickly as she had found someone who needed help from the charity. There was obviously something about the call that affected mum as we paid the bill and left the restaurant pretty sharpish.

The fact that our meal had been cut short, that we hadn’t had time for an ice cream and that mum and dad were now “at work” on their rest day meant that I remember being rather disgruntled in the back of the car. I mentioned before that this was some years ago but I do remember feeling very hard done by. Then we arrived at our destination and saw the person who needed help.

She wasn’t just a person who needed help though, she was a young girl, around 11 years old. She stood with a hollow look in her eye, her flowery dress was decorated with blood stains, both old and new. She’d been crying. Suddenly I wasn’t too bothered about missing out on ice cream.

Our day was definitely taken over now, but I wasn’t nearly as disgruntled as I had been on the drive. We spent the rest of the day outside the hospital, police station and some governmental offices. As the day progressed we started to paint a picture of this young girl’s life, it was a harrowing picture.

She had lost her both her parents quite early in her young life. At a time when she was most vulnerable and most in need of love and care, she was sent to live with her Aunt who was chosen to take care of her. This was where the young girl’s life changed forever. She was in grade 2 at school (Key Stage 1) and was forced to drop out of school. Her Aunt had gathered herself a group of about 5 men, and during the day the Aunt would sell the young girl to these 5 men for k5000 which, at the time, was around £0.50 ($0.75). this was happening on a daily basis. On top of this when the girl was not with these men, she was made to clean the house and cook for the family, periodically enduring beatings if her work wasn’t up to scratch.

On this particular day, while we were out celebrating dad’s birthday, one of these men had come to visit with his money. The girl plucked up the courage to refuse and as a result was beaten so severely that her flowery dress was covered in blood stains. She ran out of the house and when the lady working with the charity found her she was walking down the street crying and injured.

We took her back to our house after reporting the incident to the police and clearing our actions with other governmental authorities. On the drive home she said very little, aside from informing us she was about to be sick. It struck me that she had probably never been in a car and was feeling the effects of dad’s driving. When we were home she bathed and we introduced her to television, she spent a large portion of the evening looking behind the TV for the people on the screen.

In the middle of the night she woke up and needed a drink. She promptly began to shout “Dad” to get my dad to bring her a glass of water, for the first time in a long time, this young girl was safe and in a loving family.

Through the work of CiCA UK we were able to find her a home with a loving family. She was able to go back to school, at the point she left off, and quickly excelled to the top of the class. She is still being cared for by CiCA UK.

This episode has been going around my head for the last few days. Living in Zambia and being the son of a director of a charity I do have a few of these stories to tell. It is these stories that motivate me to do my level best for those to whom life has dealt a really dreadful hand.

We all have the ability to help someone, that’s a fact. The problem arises when we decide not to fight on the side of those who need us most.

Caring in Crisis Africa UK (CiCA UK) looks to alleviate poverty in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Kenya. There are different aspects to what we do. We sponsor education for school-age children as well as providing bursaries for those in higher education. Our Freedom Project empowers young women by providing them with essential sanitary wear as well as teaching on the importance of self-worth. Our Honour Project looks to provide essential provisions and care to the elderly.

You can get involved with what we do by going to our website www.cicauk.org and by sharing our Facebook page to get the word out.

Another exciting addition is that we now have an online store. Check out our merchandise at www.cicauk.org/store.

All profits from the sales go towards the work of CiCA UK.

 

 

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